Dinosaurs – Fossil Reptiles from the UK stamps

October 10th, 2013

Royal Mail are issuing a set of ten 1st Class stamps featuring dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles whose remains have been found in the UK. Royal Mail worked closely with the Natural History Museum experts on the selection of the creatures and their appearance in the artwork.

This issue was originally scheduled to be issued in 2012, the centenary of the publication Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's dinosaur thriller, The Lost World.  Happily for Royal Mail there is another tie-in in 2013, as the BBC's 3D movie, Walking with Dinosaurs, will launch at cinemas on 20 December. To celebrate this Special issue, all customers who buy a Dinosaurs product in October will be entered into an exclusive prize draw to win tickets to the UK Premiere of Walking with Dinosaurs: the 3D Movie.

John Sibbick was chosen to illustrate the Dinosaurs Stamps from a shortlist of renowned natural history artists, after CGI techniques were deemed unsuitable. His Dinosaurs seem almost alive, and in fact are breaking out of the edge of each stamp, to make them even more dramatic.

The featured reptiles are:

  • Polacanthus: the heavily armoured Polacanthus was protected from predators by a host of spikes and studs.

  • Ichthyosaurus: adapted to life in the sea, the Ichthyosaurus breathed air and gave birth to live young in the water.

  • Iguanodon: the herbivorous Iguanodon was able to walk on all fours, but would run using only its hind legs.

  • Ornithocheirus: this relative lightweight flew mainly by soaring and gliding, catching fish by skimming the sea.

  • Baryonyx: with a name meaning "heavy claw", the thumb claw alone of the Baryonyx was more than 40cm long.

  • Dimorphodon: with its one meter wingspan and two types of teeth, the Dimorphodon preyed upon fish.

  • Hypsilophodon: the long shins of the Hypsilophodon suggest that a speedy escape was its main means of defence.

  • Cetiosaurus: the Cetiosaurus was a herbivore thought to weigh as much as 20,000kg, the same as 20 cars.

  • Megalosaurus: the fearsome Megalosaurus grew up to nine meters in length, and preyed upon other Dinosaurs.

  • Plesiosaurus: with its vast paddles, the Plesiosaurus hunted fish and other marine prey at an estimated 8kph.